Johnson: Chiefs’ squad depth on par with Downs, Pirates

EVEN through hair-pulling moments, Kaizer Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson feels they have enough depth to compete with Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates. BackpagePix

EVEN through hair-pulling moments, Kaizer Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson feels they have enough depth to compete with Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates. BackpagePix

Published May 4, 2024


CAVIN Johnson has made a bold claim regarding Kaizer Chiefs’ squad depth compared to those of their rivals Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.

Chiefs’ season went from bad to worse on Thursday night, with Sundowns adding more misery to their nine-year barren run by annihilating them 5-1 in a home Premiership match.

Besides the 4-0 they suffered from Sundowns last season, it was the first time in the PSL era that Amakhosi were mauled by such a heavy score, with their previous record defeats dating back to the early 1990s and late ’80s.

But what stung more for Chiefs is that Sundowns didn’t only smash them for three points, but three title-winning points as they bagged their seventh Premiership crown in a row.

Yes, Sundowns have been on such a dominant streak that many pundits have already tipped them to win a La Decima of consecutive crowns, adding to their already bulging cabinet.

Pirates have for some time been tipped to knock Sundowns off their perch, but have fail to find a consistent winning formula even with their vastly talented squad depth.

Sundowns and Pirates have been lauded for bolstering their squad depths with players that improve when they join the club instead of deteriorating like Amakhosi’s.

But coach Johnson begs to differ. He has full trust in his Chiefs warriors that they can go toe-to-toe with any team they cross paths with in the league.

“Material wise, we match them,” Chiefs’ interim coach said at FNB Stadium on Thursday night.

“Sometimes, every team in the world gets a hiding and it just happened that, in this game, that was the reality that we got beaten 5-1.

“From a reality perspective, it will happen to you and when it happens to another coach, I also feel sorry for them.

“They’ll sit in the same chair I’m sitting in and, pound-for-pound, we all think that our players are capable of matching other players.

“Pound-for-pound, we should have matched Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, but in this game we didn’t do so. We have to accept that and move on.”

So much for backing his troops to live up to the occasions whenever they are called upon, Johnson is still struggling to figure out why Chiefs can’t match Sundowns.

After all, he only arrived as a quick fix in October as Molefi Ntseki’s replacement, the club having already hit a pothole in the last eight years under different coaches.

“I wouldn’t be able to put my finger on that. I think there’s a building process in everything you do,” he said before he modestly shifted the blame away from himself.

“I have been at Chiefs now for seven months, so if you ask me to give you the history on things like that, it’s going to be difficult for me to put my finger on it.

“So, as Kaizer Chiefs and other teams, we need to work harder to overtake the team that has just won the championship.”

All Chiefs can fight for is finishing the season on a high, at least with the top-eight knockout competition to welcome Ntseki’s full-time replacement.

“It’s been up and down. It’s been difficult and it’s been nice as well. It’s been a learning curve, and we learn from these mistakes,” said the 65-year-old Johnson.

“We learn from the wins as well. There are certain things that you must remember and forget as a coach. But you learn every day.”